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Dr. Dick van der Wateren

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Natural Hazards Monitoring, asteroids, Near Earth Objects

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Nature News: Short notice for asteroids' near-miss - September 08, 2010

09.09.2010, Age: 2842 days

Yesterday, two asteroids just missed the Earth. We will probably not have much time to prepare ourselves when a real hit comes, says Eugenie Samuel Reich in Nature News.

The two asteroids missed the Earth by just 248,000 and 79,000 kilometres, a near hit in astronomical terms. Although the largest Near-Earth Objects are constantly surveyed by the NASA Advisory Council Ad-Hoc Task Force on Planetary Defense, the time between detection and impact may be too short to do much good. The two objects that passed the Earth on Wednesday 8 September were only detected three days before. Despite being small (6 to 14 metres diameter) they could have done substantial damage.

"Some time in the next decade, a US president will probably be presented with this dilemma: is it worth spending US$1 billion to deflect a space rock that may never hit Earth?" says Reich.

See also: Close-Shave Asteroid Caught on Camera at Wired Science.


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